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Our favorite restaurant was at it again. Earlier this year Terroni opened a new Italian fixed-price restaurant called Osteria Ciceri E Tria. Yes it’s a mouthful to say and remember, but the unique dining concept is catching on quick. Located in the former Terroni Victoria Street location, Osteria Ciceri E Tria is holding it down and serving it up with bite-sized portions. The Double P’s, along with our friend Edgar, ventured to Osteria for dinner last week and left with mixed feelings.

There are two ways to order your meal. Either go a la carte and pick and choose as you wish from the menu, or go with one of the numerous prix-fixe options. Choose between the Five Antipasti ($15), Five Antipasti + Primo ($23), Five Antipasti + Secondo ($28), or for the exceptionally hungry, the Five Antipasti + Primo + Secondo ($35).

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The Five Antipasti comes with five miniature dishes. We were both a little confused since the menu listed the dishes, but what arrived to our table was different. We recommend checking in with the waitstaff for an updated list. We oohed and aahed over the Fiori Di Zucca (deep fried ricotta and pecorino stuffed zucchini flower) and the Parmigiana di Fagioli (fried eggplant layered with parmigiano, mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil). The evening seemed to be off to a great start.

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But unfortunately we spoke too soon. After waiting a sufficient amount of time for our Primos, they finally arrived. The Orecchiette e Rucola ($15) contained handmade orecchiette pasta with anchovy, chili, bread crumbs and fresh arugula. The first bite was delicious, a combination of salty and nutty flavors which danced in our mouths. But about a quarter way through I was reaching for my fifth glass of water and suffering from sodium overload. We weren’t quite sure if it was from an overdose of anchovies or the dumping of a salt shaker.

Our other Primo item was the Orecchiette Di Farro ($15) which contained handmade spelt orecchiette with cherry tomato, boccanicini, arugula, zucchini and basil. The use of spelt was a fantastic concept for those who are weary of wheat, but the dish itself was a complete disaster. The pasta was undercooked, not even al dente, which isn’t ideal when it comes to spelt. The pasta tasted raw, gritty and flavorless. Disappointing.

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Our dining companion however had much better luck. His Primo, the Gnocchi cu li Rizzi ($15), had an amazing combination of handmade potato gnocchi with fresh sea urchin, mussels, garlic and chili. The sea urchin was tender, delicate and abundant in quantity. His Secondi, the Cartoccio d’Orata ($15), contained baked sea bream, mussels, clams, calamari, cherry tomatoes and parsley. The dish arrived steaming in parchment paper, fresh from the oven and tasted like the last remnants of summer. Divine.

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After the Double P’s disappointing Primos, we moved on to desert and were thankful we did since it was pretty spectacular. The Dolcetto Fondente ($8) is a flourless dark chocolate cake served with warm gianduja sauce, zabalone and fresh berries. The dish takes exactly 12 minutes to make which is the perfect time to allow for digestion and to make room for greedy over-sized spoonfuls.

Our meal took a few ups and downs on the culinary roller coaster, but overall Plato Putas loved the unconventional dining concept. The smaller-sized dishes allows you to sample your way through the menu and share your meal while relaxing in an urban contemporary environment typical to a Terroni restaurant.

Osteria Ciceri e Tria / 106 Victoria Street
416 955 0258 / Mon-Thu 9am-10pm; Fri-Sat 9am-11pm

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